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Russia Urged To Accept Responsibility On Sixth Anniversary Of MH17 Downing

The Malaysia Airlines plane was downed in July 2014.
The Malaysia Airlines plane was downed in July 2014.

Ukraine and its Western partners have marked the sixth anniversary of the downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger flight over eastern Ukraine by calling on Russia to cooperate fully with the investigation into the tragedy and accept its responsibility.

Prosecutors have argued that MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014 by a Russian-made Buk antiaircraft system fired by Russia-backed separatist fighters who had acquired it from a Russian military base on the border between the two countries. All 298 people on board were killed.

Four suspects, three Russians and one Ukrainian, are being tried in absentia for involvement in the tragedy.

Moscow has denied any involvement in the downing and the conflict in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which has killed more than 13,000 people since April 2014.

"Ukraine calls on Russia to accept its responsibility and adhere to its international obligations, cooperate with the ongoing investigation and criminal proceedings," Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on July 17.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said Russia should "cooperate fully with the investigation and efforts to establish accountability."

"Russia must ensure that every indicted individual currently in Russia or Russia-controlled territory face justice. Russia has repeatedly obstructed progress on measures to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine which it started and continues to fuel," acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Kristina Kvien said in a video posted on Twitter.

Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc expects Russia to accept its responsibility for the Ukrainian plane’s downing and to fully cooperate with efforts to establish accountability.

The sixth anniversary of the tragedy comes a week after the Dutch government announced it was taking Russia to the European Court of Human Rights for its alleged role.

Nearly two-thirds of the crash’s victims were Dutch nationals.

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